IACHR Presents Report on Extractive Industries and Human Rights

Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) presents the report Indigenous Peoples, Afro-Descendent Communities and Natural Resources: Human Rights Protection in the Context of Extraction, Exploitation, and Development Activities. The report seeks to highlight the breadth and complexity of the problems caused by extractive and development activities in the region, and to set forth a comprehensive framework of Inter-American Human Rights standards on the subject. Extractive, exploitation, and development activities, which are increasing in the hemisphere, are generally implemented in lands and territories historically occupied by indigenous and Afro-descendent communities

which host a great wealth of natural resources. The Commission does not discourage these projects and recognizes the importance of these initiatives for the economic development of countries in the Americas. However, economic development of Member States cannot be undertaken in disregard of their ineluctable obligations to respect and guarantee human rights.

Host States (where the project takes place) and foreign States (where the business has its headquarters) have specific obligations in this context. The report spells out each of these obligations with a view to making sure that the economic development of countries in the hemisphere is not attained at the expense of the fundamental human rights of indigenous peoples and Afro-descendent communities. Host States must adopt appropriate and positive steps with due diligence to prevent, investigate, punish and redress human rights violations that result from the execution of these projects. Additionally, they must comply with international human rights standards through the adoption and implementation of effective policies, legislation, regulations and through measures to ensure adequate access to justice.

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